Copy editor diagnosed with eye fatigue


Trent Allaback / Advance-Titan – Trent Allaback began working at the Advance-Titan in 2021 as a sports reporter and copy editor.

Trent Allaback, Copy Desk Editor

I joined the Advance-Titan in the fall of 2021 during a tumultuous transition from UW Oshkosh-Fox Cities to the main campus of UW Oshkosh. I was very unsure where (or if) I would fit in at a place where so many people my age seemed to be established, focused, and at home after having a few years of college under their belt. I came to the office on production night initially curious about writing for the paper. Before I knew it, I was sitting at the copy desk, untrained but jumping into my first edits. Looking back, it’s one of the most important things that happened to me in my first days at UW Oshkosh.

As a non-traditional student, I felt somewhat deprived of the early days of college where everybody is a little lost and looking for a community where they can meet new people with similar interests and passions. When I went to the production office, I was immediately greeted warmly by everybody and quickly given the opportunity to be part of the process of production. I was able to work on some articles and begin to learn the ins and outs of copyediting. I had no idea what I was doing, but with the help of our fearless chief copyeditor Kyiah and several other great editors, any questions I had were answered. A few hours later, I left feeling two things I’d never felt before: genuine eye fatigue from reading for so long, and a deep sense of accomplishment that in my experience only comes from playing a part in a group effort to make something great.

To be honest, I still feel like a novice copyeditor, but I am definitely going to miss the weekly debates about AP style, appropriate use of punctuation and sentence structure that I’ve grown so accustomed to. Kyiah and Savannah, thanks for all the fun conversations and commiseration. Best of luck to you both. Your commitment and attention to detail has been inspiring. Don’t forget—baseball is just tag with extra steps. 

Later on, I tried my hand at writing for the sports section. In my brief time as a sportswriter, I got to work on articles that turned out to be some of the most fun writing I have done in college. There were a few frustrating moments and close calls with deadlines, but I always felt supported by the staff at the AT and learned so much about useful journalistic writing styles that I would not have otherwise been exposed to as an English major. Although other obligations stopped me from writing as much as I would have liked to, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to experience the process of writing for publication. 

The friendliness of the staff and the community that I discovered at the AT enabled me to be more willing to try new things on campus.  When other opportunities for being involved outside of class came up, I always thought of the AT as an example of the good things that can happen when you take the leap to try something new. I had the opportunity to get involved with the Wisconsin Review, UWO’s very own on-campus literary journal (which I will shamelessly plug here—reach out if you’re interested!) and I found that it was much easier to take that first step and reach out to advisors and club members after my experience at the AT. Thanks to the AT, I was able to see extracurricular activities for what they truly are: a wonderful opportunity for students to explore their interests, learn new things and interact with great people who are inspiring in their commitment and reassuring in their shared experiences. The AT helped me to understand that no matter what paths students might take during college, we are all battling many of the same struggles. It’s allowed me to interact with people that, like me, were uncertain, tired, stressed and a little bit jaded, but above all deeply passionate and dedicated to doing their best to build each other up and improve themselves through the difficult but incredibly rewarding work of being involved in student publications.

I can’t really imagine what these past two years would have looked like if I hadn’t decided to step outside of my comfort zone and gone to that production night. It has made all the difference in my sense of belonging and purpose during my condensed time at UWO. To everybody in the office, I want to sincerely thank you. Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s been so great to play a small part in the wonderful things that you do for UWO.